The Millstones

The millstones are surrounded by a wooden cover or 'tun', with the 'horse' supporting the 'hopper' and 'shoe'. When the mill was operated commercially, grain fell from a grain bin in the Garner, through a chute into the hopper, then slowly fed into the grain 'shoe'. This is agitated by the 'damsel', an iron rod connected to the top of the revolving stone spindle. Grain is shaken from the 'shoe' into the centre of the upper or 'runner' stone to be milled into wholemeal flour as it moves to the outer edge of the stones.

The middle picture shows the runner stone being held on edge by the stone crane. The 'runner' and the 'bed' stone are 'French' stones, each created from a number of pieces of hard flint-like stone, or burrs, that were quarried near Paris. Specialised stone masons would select a number of burrs before cutting them to produce the millstones, holding them together by circular iron bands and plaster of paris. An iron 'bar' or 'rynd' across the central 'eye' fits over the 'mace' on the stone spindle, balanced on the pivot point of the spindle, and turns the stone as the spindle rotates. This runner stone is made from thirteen burrs with four inner and nine outer pieces.

The bottom picture shows the lower bed stone, fixed in position on the Stone Floor, and surrounded by the close-fitting wooden skirting. A hole in the skirting allows the meal produced by the millstones to fall down a chute to the Meal Bagging area on the floor below. At the centre of the stone, the stone spindle is fitted with the thick cast-iron 'H' shaped 'mace', kept in position by the weight of the runner stone. The spindle emerges through the mace to form the pivot point upon which the runner stone rests. This bed stone is made from four inner and eight outer burrs.